Whisky Review: The GlenDronach Port Wood

Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by The Glendronach. This in no way, per our editorial policiesinfluenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

The use of sherry casks, beer casks, and various other casks to aid in the maturation process of whisky is not new. Utilizing sherry casks for aging has a long history at The GlenDronach distillery, but with the release of their Port Wood single malt whisky they are taking a decidedly different tack. These casks all imbue their own flavor and colors to the whisky and if executed properly the results can be astounding.

Founded in 1826 by James Allardice, the grounds of this distillery have housed everyone from the owners, brewers, and various other workers and their families, not to mention the storied tales of the ghost of the Spanish lady said to haunt the main house in search of libation from time to time. With almost 200 years of distilling history, the current owners continue to build on the name of excellence established from the start.

In the Scottish highlands, intense flavors and creative maturations abound. Companies like Dalwhinnie, and Glenmorangie join The GlenDronach as prime examples of the Highland tradition of bright flavors and meticulous attention to detail. You are more likely to find the fruity notes and sweeter flavors in these spirits vs the rich and robust smokey nature of the Islay brands like Lagavulin, and Kilchoman, where peat is more dominant, or the lighter notes of the lowlands.

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No matter where your tastes lead you in your Scotch adventure, you will be able to see why single malts are revered around the world and why many of them garner a consistently higher price point. With The GlenDronach, the balanced flavors are center stage along with the discipline and creativity that is present in this Port Wood release.

The Glendronach Port Wood

The Glendronach Port Wood (image via The Glendronach)

Tasting Notes: The GlenDronach Port Wood

Vital Stats: At about $89 a bottle, this whiskey comes has an ABV of 46%. It was initially “matured in the distillery’s signature Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks, followed by a second maturation in some of the finest port pipes from the majestic Douro Valley in Portugal.” Non age statement.

Appearance: It has a gentle orange/red tint of light amber.

Nose: Its nose is filled with bright and fruity notes of pear and mandarin orange. Further in, there is the scent of soft caramels and a subtle scent of plum. On the end there is a hint of baking chocolate.

Palate: The first impression on the tongue is of a holiday fruit cake. Dried fruits like raisin and apricot come together with the bright citrus notes. Salted caramel is ushered in with a hint of oak on the end and it finishes with a dusting of cocoa powder. It has a buttery mouthfeel and a well-balanced heat. There is also just a hint of grass and mineral notes at the end.

The Takeaway


Tis was just the season for fruit cake, boxes of citrus deliveries, and gift boxes filled with dried fruits and chocolates. To keep the flavor theme going, you can chase down a bottle of The GlenDronach Port Wood. The rich fruity notes and well-timed heat of this single malt delivers the Highland experience, taking you on a journey across the ocean, away from the land of whiskey, to the land of whisky.

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